Last week, on Friday I went to get my minor signed in Geography, because I thought it would be an easy minor to match up my Major in Language Arts for my Elementary Education degree at Central Michigan University. Upon going and talking to the chair of the Geopraphy department, I brought my transcript with me. He looked at the transcript for a while and came to the conclusion that I had changed my mind a lot during my 4 years of college and covered a lot of ground, with only 1 thing remaining constant, my desire to study the Japanese language.
Noticing that I have 32 credits in Japanese (enough to have completed a major in it at any normal university that offers it), he asked what I wanted to do with my life. I told him that I wanted to be a teacher and that my focus was Elementary Education. He told me that by the looks of things I didn’t want to do that at all, and I actually wanted to pursue Japanese a little more, and do something with it (after all, living in Japan for a full year kinda leaves people with this impression, as well as yourself). I told him that I’d love to do something with it, but unfortunately, CMU doesn’t offer anything in the way of Japanese (at least that I haven’t taken already).
He then asked me something that I probably should have asked myself a while ago…“Do you want to ultimately do something with Japanese, or ‘waste’ your time and money on a degree that you may not even use in the future?”. After that, he threw in a few stats, things like 1/3 (I made up that number, because I don’t remember it exactly) of all college graduates do NOT go into a field that has anything to do with the degree that they’ve earned. He kinda saw me heading in that direction, and said that if I were to graduate sooner (at this point, I was looking at 2.5 years left!), I would have a bunch of different options.
He said that I could theoretically change my major and focus, and get out of college by December of this year! In comparison, this cuts down my time at school by 2 years. I would only have to be here another half of a year instead of two and a half. Obviously I was interested to hear what he had to pitch my way, and man did he have some ideas. First of all, I told him about what I personally had planned on doing after graduation.
I said that when I graduate, I plan on immediately applying for the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program. In this program, I would move back to Japan for at least another year and become and assistant language teacher, teaching English to Japanese Middle/High-School students. To me, it didnt seem like a bad rap, and it’s something that I’ve enjoyed doing with my tutoring since I’ve been back from Japan. On top of that, my New Zealand friend Mike told me that he did the program, and it was one of the best decisions of his life. In all honesty, I had planned on doing this program until I could pay back my college loans (which at this point I believe is over $20,000 ::: ouch::: ).
He told me that this sounds like I wouldn’t need an Elementary Teaching Degree at all (I checked, he was right), and he wondered why I was even going for it at all. I told him that after my student teaching in the Elem. Ed. program, and going to Japan for a year, I would be able to decide on which one I would want to do for the rest of my career. Plus, it seemed like a really safe way to go, as I was basically guaranteed a job in America with that degree (a male teaching Elem Ed., just think about it, there are VERY few, thus high demand). He then said that he could map me out that plan to get out of college by the fall, and that my degree would be in Social Sciences, with a focus in Geography (which I’m not sure I’m so excited about). The plan looks solid and easy enough to follow, and then he threw out the other options to me…
Option #1: Take your degree and teach English in Japan under the JET Program (assuming they accept you), and see where it takes you (all you need is a 4-year degree, it doesn’t matter in what field of study).
Option 1 doesn’t look so bad, in fact, it was pretty much my original plan.
Option #2: Being a product of the Army, he suggested that I take my degree to an Armed Forces Recruiter, and tell him/her about your studies in Japan and Japanese, and he/she would be thrilled to have you join, and with a 4-year degree already earned you have the ability to go into an officer’s program as a linguist, and be stationed wherever you would like (obviously Japan).
Option 2 is honestly something that Ive never even thought about before, but it would allow me to continue my study of Japanese, and at a rate that I would really LOVE to do. This is a loaded option though, as I’ve always viewed boot camp in the armed serviced to be something that just wasn’t for me, and about the scarriest thing next to Rosie O’Donnell. However, I hear that the military pays VERY well, and going into an officer’s program is about as kosher as it gets. This is an option that I’m going to explore a little more on Monday, as I head down to the recruitment offices on Mt. Pleasant to see what each branch would have to offer me (still though, my brother is going into the Air Force in the next few months, and he has already brought my attention to the AF moreso than any of the other branches).
Option #3: Take my 4-year degree from CMU and go into a Masters program somewhere around the country that would allow me to further my study of Japanese, and even pick out a reasonable career in it.
Option 3 seems like something Im putting far in the back of my mind at the moment. I would like to continue my studies in Japanese, but honestly, the reason I’m thinking about taking this new route is because Im sick of school and want to just be an adult in the real world. I don’t like college life anymore, and I see no point in getting hammered week-in and week-out, just to do it again the next. On the other hand, I could go into a masters program anywhere in the US (theoretically the world I suppose), and get a degree where I WANT it to be, for a career that I want to have.
Option #4: Something cool that I don’t even know about yet. Maybe I could do something with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences with a focus in Geography (the focus can actually change, but this one seems like the easiest one by far), but I really don’t think it would be something I would want to do. Also, I could complete the JET program first, come back home and go into a Masters program at Michigan State University or something, I just don’t know.
This is pretty much where things stand with me right now. I have a few more tidbits to throw in too though, like the fact that my landlord is being a major pain in the ass right now and not allowing me to sign my next lease for just the fall (he makes us sign for a whole year, summers included). So as it stands right now, I don’t even know where I’m going to live in the fall. I may actually just move back to Flint with my mom or my grandma (or maybe even with my dad and sister) and commute the 90-minute trip it is to get to Mt. Pleasant 2 times a week (because I would only need to take 13 credits, and I could take them Tuesday and Thursday, and just commute on those 2 days. I wouldn’t have to worry about rent this way, which would be amazing. Gas would suck, but thats something that I could deal with. The drive probably wouldn’t be that bad, because with my recent kick on audiobooks, I could actually “get something accomplished” while driving. This is a heck of a lot to take in for one weekend, but this is where things stand at the moment. I don’t know what do with all of it, other than take it all in slowly, and not make any hasty decisions that I would regret very soon.
Please everyone, go ahead and give me your input on what you think about all of this. And as for the military stuff, I am very uneducated about the ways of the military, and anyone that could shed some experienced light on the subject would be very helpful. The last thing I want to do it to go into the recruiter and have them talk this up like it’s amazing, and then sign my life away (not that I would do that anytime before December) and find out that it’s not at all what they were talking it up to be. Unbiassed, experienced opinions only on that one please. Everything else though is free-game, and you are all welcome to throw in your input.
The one thing I have decided though, is that I want to take this new program on and get out of college as soon as possible. I really don’t like college life, and I haven’t since my sophomore year here, and even that was questionable I think. So please, let me know what you think, and I’ll continue posting in this thread with new revelations, thoughts and decisions.
(Finally, I do appologize for the length of this post, it’s a out of control, but this is a serious issue.)